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Taiwan's U-Theatre to perform in Saudi Arabia

2012/07/01 14:33:19

Taipei, July 1 (CNA) U-Theatre, a renowned Taiwanese arts group, has been invited to take part in a summer festival in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, and will give five performances there from July 4-8, a spokeswoman for the troupe said Sunday.

It will be the first performance by a professional Taiwanese arts group in the Middle Eastern country, U-Theatre said.

U-Theatre, renowned for its unique combination of drumming, Zen meditation and martial arts, will perform its well-known production "Sound of the Ocean," as requested by the organizers.

However, due to time constraints and cultural customs, the 85-minute production will be shortened to 55 minutes and all the parts will be performed by men for the first time in the troupe's history, it said.

In addition, they will all wear long-sleeved tops and pants instead of the usual traditional costumes, Artistic Director Liu Ruo-yu told CNA.

"We respect different cultures," she said. "Only through mutual respect can cultural exchanges be achieved."

Described by the New York Times as "mesmerizing," the performance traces the cyclic journey of water from a drop to a stream and from a river to the ocean. The piece was debuted in 1998 to wide acclaim and has been performed in the U.S., France, and the U.K.

U-Theatre drumming director Huang Chih-chun expressed excitement about the Saudi Arabia experience, saying that he and other troupe members are all looking forward to any inspirational sparks that may occur.

"It will be a very interesting experience and a great challenge at the same time," he said. Saudi Arabia is generally seen as a conservative country where international arts shows are very rare, he said.

Huang said he hopes the five performances will open the gates for Taiwanese arts troupes to enter that market and at the same time, allow more people to experience Taiwan's soft power and culture.

(By James Lee)